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Mentor Spotlight: Nisha Honnaya



LevelUp is beginning a new series highlighting female mentors and mentees, underscoring their contributions, struggles, and triumphs. For our first spotlight, we got the chance to interview Nisha Honnaya, a junior at NYU Stern from Monroe, CT. She is studying Finance and Computing & Data Science, with a minor in Spanish and career interests include asset management and entrepreneurship. For fun she loves reading good books, trying out new styles of dance choreography, and embroidery!


Why did you choose to study business?


Throughout my schooling, I really enjoyed math and found that I was inclined toward quantitative types of classes. Through an independent research project in high school, I was able to finally try my hand at applying this interest. It was through this project, that I explored finance, and specifically derivatives trading. This definitely sparked my interest in the world of business, and from then on I decided to explore and study it further.


What was one of your favorite memories as a student?


One of my favorite memories as a student was my experience studying abroad. I studied abroad in Madrid in my sophomore fall semester. It was a great way to not only develop a sense of independence, but also gain a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for an entirely different culture. While I was there, I also took part in NYU's Internship Seminar Class and was paired with Spark Mastercard as a local intern. This was an incredibly unique way to step outside of my comfort zone and learn how finance operates internationally, all while deepening my understanding of the prepaid card market in Spain.


What are some challenges that you have faced in your professional career?


Being able to confidently voice my ideas and have conviction in my work are challenges I've encountered in my internship experiences so far. I think it's important to continually learn how we can best advocate for ourselves (and others!) in the workplace, and this is definitely something I've appreciated being able to learn more about throughout the very early start to my career.

As part of NYU Stern’s student mentorship program, what made you decide to become a mentor?


I decided to become a mentor at NYU because mentorship was a really formative experience for me when I joined as a freshman. As an underclassmen, it was so reassuring to have a trusted confidante to bounce ideas off of, ask professional, personal, or academic questions, and befriend. I've always subscribed to a pay-it-forward mindset, and I decided to become a mentor in order to give back in whatever capacity I could.


Do you have any specific advice for women trying to pursue careers in business?


A piece of advice I've really appreciated is not being afraid to speak up. Several fields in business are still male-dominated, but it's important to remember that we've earned our seat at the table through our hard work, and it's up to us to voice our valuable ideas, concerns, and questions.


Do you feel like current corporate diversity and inclusion efforts are doing enough for underrepresented groups?


I believe that a lot of progress has been made towards corporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, but there's still a considerable amount of room to grow. For example, I appreciate seeing companies integrate these initiatives into their recruiting practices and even creating spaces through business resource groups to facilitate ongoing DEI discussions in the workplace. However, it's important to continue elevating underrepresented voices whether it be through continuous internal DEI initiatives, diverse board structures, implementing sustainable corporate strategies, and/or directly investing in and giving back to these communities.


Thank you for the great interview Nisha! Stay tuned for more posts spotlighting female mentors & mentees soon.

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